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Gardening Question of the Day

What's the best way to remove sunflower seeds from the flower?

One way is to rub the head of the sunflower across an old washboard. Just grip the head and rub it across the board as if you were washing clothes. If you can't find an old washboard, something with a similar design -- perhaps an old window shutter -- may work just as well.

Last 7 Days

    I planted potatoes in my garden and had trouble determining the best time to harvest them.

    You can harvest new potatoes when they are about the size of a quarter or maybe slightly larger. Or you can wait a while and let the potatoes get bigger. However, you should harvest all of your potatoes once the vines die, or the potatoes may rot.

    We're building a new home. Can I plant my new azalea plant now, then transplant it to the new house?

    Transplanting is not recommended for young plants, so you may want to consider that. Also, it would have been best to have a year's lead time on the move. That way you could do root pruning to create a root ball, cutting off roots with a shovel in a circle around the plant. Then, after digging up, tie the root ball together for the move for best success. Azaleas should be transplanted in early spring or fall if the weather is mild, while the plant is dormant, but the ground is not yet frozen.

    The leaves on my lilac have been turning yellow, then brown, and then falling off, but the flowers are fine. What is wrong with it, and how can I save it?

    Your plant has lilac blight, which affects just the leaves. To save the tree, get rid of the diseased leaves, then spray the rest of the leaves with a copper solution.

    Can I plant vegetables on a plot that formerly had Asiatic lilies and bearded irises growing on it?

    I have not found a reference that indicates there would be a negative residual effect on your vegetables from Asiatic lilies or bearded irises.

    I'd like to give 'Paper White' narcissi as Christmas gifts. When is the best time to plant my bulbs?

    Plant your 'Paper White' bulbs in early November to have blooms in time for Christmas. Use a bulb pan, and plant the bulbs in stones.

    I want to make sure my Christmas cactus produces flowers in December. What should I do now?

    Buds will form on a Christmas cactus when it is kept at a constant temperature between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit or when you give it at least 13 hours of complete darkness each night. If you can achieve either of these conditions, the December blooms will be well worth the effort.

    I live in Chicago and have Stargazer lillies in large plastic containers. How should i winterize them?

    Dig up the bulbs and store them in ventilated bags (onion sacks) in a cool room out of the sun. Make sure to wrap the bulbs in moist (damp, not wet) newspaper, or put the bulbs in bags of barely moist peatmoss sphagnum. The material must be damp, not wet. If the bulbs are allowed to dry out, they will die. If kept too wet, the bulbs will rot. Check the material (sphagnum/newspaper) every few weeks to re-wet it if necersssary. The cooler you keep the bulbs the better (above freezing).

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